As I grew up with Disney movies, it was hard to believe that they weren’t always a hit. When Fantasia originally came out in 1940, it was considered controversial. According to Tim Dirks in his review, the original version failed in the box office partially because it required an expensive sound system. Also, Dirks mentions that the movie had a two million dollar budget–an incredibly high budget for that time. However, the most surprising thing is that the movie did manage to find it’s success during the 1960’s because it was a favorite hallucinatory experience, which is much different than any experience I’ve ever had with a Disney movie. According to Dirks, the movie was meant to promote classical music, while exploring themes like light vs. darkness and chaos vs. order, dancing animals, classical mythology, and legend. All of these ideas are expressed using different forms of nature or animals, like the storm surrounding Mickey Mouse. As a child, the vivid images paired with the excitement of the songs seemed enough to hold my attention. But as the motivations and themes behind the movie are revealed, it’s interesting to read how each segment plays a role.


10 responses to “Fantasia

  1. I agree completely with Vani on the fact that Fantasia wasn’t a very popular movie when it first came out. To me, you can’t get any better than Disney, so to hear that this movie didn’t do well the box office is mind-boggling. I also found it unfortunate that Walt Disney had created a special sound system (FantaSound) specifically for the movie so a lot of movie theaters couldn’t show it.

  2. I think it’s really cool how you compare your experience of fantasia as a child to your experience now. My experience was just the same, I was extremely captivated by fantasia as a kid, not even thinking about themes or imagery. I watched the whole thing today while I was home sick, and it was still just as captivating, although it was a totally different experience

  3. I agree. When I watched Fantasia as a child, I was solely captured by its animation (visual effects) and the music. However, I never thought about the intense imagery each scene had in correlation with the classical music: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring representing the primeval nature on Earth and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite representing the transition between the four seasons.

  4. After seeing parts of the movie now that I’m not 6, it’s interesting to me to find out that the movie was originally catered to adults. Because it is about sparkling fairies, dancing mushrooms, and dinosaurs, I’ve always thought of it as a kids movie. After learning more about it, I just find it funny and interesting that it was made to entertain all ages.

  5. I agree that you described the film as a “hallucinatory experience” because everything about it seemed very unreal. It took the audience to places that had only existed in their imagination, like the fairie’s dance and millions of years back in time. The use of color stood out a lot for me because everything was very colorful, making it surreal.

  6. It’s a very different disney movie than the others considering there is no talking and it is all classical music. I feel as though it was not directed towards kids like most of his movies, and adults were unsure of what to think of the film which is what caused the lack of popularity in the beginning years. It’s interesting though because what sparked the interest in the 1960s?

  7. I think it is really interesting that you are talking about Disney movies as a whole and how this one wasn’t as popular originally as some of the others. However, I think Fantasia is on a completely different level then the other “classic” Disney movies that our generation grew up on. This one was made geared more towards adults and a more theatrical experience, where most of Disney’s other animations were more geared towards kids. Because of this, I think it might be a little unfair to group them together.

    • I don’t necessarily agree with that statement, because even as a small kid I could enjoy the movie when I first saw it. I think it may have been geared towards adults originally, but I definitely think that there is components that can gear towards different age groups. For example, it’s fun to watch the images and the colors in the first segment we watched, and mostly as kids you follow the images and whats on the screen. The dancing mushrooms and the fairies are still fun to watch even if they aren’t talking. However, it’s definitely clear that there’s an adult component as well if you follow what the visuals actually are/represent and pay closer attention to how the music fits with the visual aids.

      Also… I’m not talking about Disney movies on a whole, I’m just saying that we have this preconceived notion of what Disney movies should be like, and originally Fantasia didn’t fit in with that.

  8. I agree, Luke. Especially in the primordial life scene, it seemed as though the film tried to differentiate between the lighthearted parts of nature and the intense, kind of scary parts. The mushrooms and the earthquakes are examples of both of these. Vani, I also liked how you brought up the light and dark imagery that was portrayed; today, while watching, I felt like the flutes and high-pitched instruments were the “light”, while the very low pitched instruments were the dark.

  9. I like how you bring up the idea of different types of nature. In the clips we saw today you could clearly see a difference in the way nature is portrayed throughout the film. For example the volcano scene depicts nature as a powerful awesome force, but in the nutcracker scenes nature is shown in a much more whimsical light.

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